Video: 20,000 protest over Pope Benedict XVI’s views on homosexuality and the spread of HIV/ AIDS

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Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in central London on Saturday with banners and blown-up condoms, angered at the Pope’s response to the child abuse scandal, his homophobic comments about gay relationships and his claims that condoms spread rather than prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Organisers believe that up to 20,000 activists took part in the demonstration in Hyde Park. Protesters included the author of ‘The God Delusion’, Richard Dawkins, and gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Protesters unfurled banners with statements including:”Pope’s opposition to condoms kills people”, “Keep the Pope out of women’s’ reproductive rights” and “F*CK the Pope … But wear a condom”. Others simply called the Pope a “bigot” or a “homophobe”, while others balloons made up of blown up condoms, while some protesters displayed their anger at the Pontiff’s apparent role in covering up the child abuse scandal within the church.

Mr Tatchell told the Observer that the Pope’s “harsh, intolerant views on women’s rights, on gay equality and on the use of condoms which is so vital to stopping the spread of the HIV virus”. He added to calls suggesting the Pontiff become the subject of a citizens’ arrest due to his alleged role in covering the sandal up: “The Vatican isn’t a state, it is not recognised as a country by the UN. To give the Pope head of state status is wrong and to give him immunity against prosecution is wrong – no-one should be above the law.” The gay rights campaigner had been reportedly working with Professor Dawkins on a plan for a citizens’ arrest of the Pope.”

Professor Dawkins was rather more precise calling the Pope “an enemy of humanity.”

(please scroll down for the video footage that accompanies this report)